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Spaghetti and soccer: Sudbury's Italians celebrate culture

Alexander was just one of the people celebrating all things Italian at the 42nd annual Italian Festival, which ran July 3-6 at the Caruso Club.
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(From left) Evan Zuliani, 13, and his younger cousins, Andrew Zuliani, 7, and Alexander Zuliani, 10, show their Italian pride at the 42nd annual Italian Festival. Photo by Heidi Ulrichsen.
Alexander was just one of the people celebrating all things Italian at the 42nd annual Italian Festival, which ran July 3-6 at the Caruso Club.

Beyond children's activities, the event included everything from a pro wrestling show to live music to bocce to a classic car show.

True to Alexander's words, the festival also featured lots of Italian food, and a television in the Caruso Club lounge was tuned to the FIFA World Cup soccer tournament.

“Not many people are watching it, though — they're upset,” laughed festival chairperson Stephanie Sindori. “Italy is out.”

She said she agrees food is definitely central to Italian culture.

“Most kids grow up in the kitchens with their moms and the grandparents or their aunts,” Sindori said. “They learn to cook about the same time as they learn to talk, so it's a gathering.”

The city's Italian community looks forward to the festival, as it's something of a family reunion, she said. “Everybody you see here, you're distantly related to or you've grown up hanging out with,” Sindori said.

Luisa Cimino — who is married to newly-elected Sudbury MPP Joe Cimino — was at the event with the couple's two young daughters, Vainia and Vanessa.

“It's important to celebrate our culture and our heritage,” she said. “That way the girls know where their upbringing is from and where they come from and keep connected to their roots.”

Lenore Zuliani — who happens to be Alexander Zuliani's grandmother — chatted with Northern Life in between selling bags of pasta and crostoli to festival-goers.

She said the festival is a lot of fun, as it's a place to spend time with old and new friends. Zuliani she she also loves seeing her grandkids learn more about Italian culture.

“We're very proud to be Italian,” she said. “It's wonderful to see the young people coming in and enjoying it and being a part of it.”

To check out the full festival schedule, visit carusoclub.ca and click on the “Annual Italian Festival” tab.

Heidi Ulrichsen

About the Author: Heidi Ulrichsen

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